And they did it again. The Los Angeles Lakers had yet another poor outing.
The Atlanta Hawks started to pour it on against the Lakers in the second quarter. And they kept them at bay for the whole game. The final was 138-122.
I feel like a broken record but the defense was nonexistent for most of the game. It’s even worse with Anthony Davis not on the floor. There just seemed to be no sense of urgency, which is frustrating because when the Lakers play with Gummi Berri Juice, they can be a lockdown defensive team.
But it was open season for buckets against the Lakers. It didn’t help that the Lakers couldn’t make a three in the first half (2 for 13). Of course, the Hawks were getting the offensive rebounds (12-7 advantage), which is one of their strengths. That led to the Hawks having 10 more second chance points against the Lakers. And with no Davis protecting the paint, the Hawks outscored the Lakers in the paint by four. Overall, the Hawks outboarded the Lakers by 11.
Other things of note? The Hawks capitalized on turnovers; they have 25 points off those compared to 11 by the Lakers. And the clanking on the foul shots certainly didn’t help the Lakers; they missed 11 of those.
More about the defense? This is the fifth time in the last 7 games where the Lakers have let their opponents score 130 or more. For a team that is supposed to specialize on defense, that’s damning.
This is also a bit embarrassing.
After the Hawks got a dunk to push their lead to 17 early in the third quarter, the Lakers call timeout and a couple of L.A.'s players are showing Jaxson Hayes the proper defensive positioning of where he should be protecting the paint— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 31, 2024
Hayes has been in the league for four years and change now. That’s rough.
The Lakers were able to cut it down to 10 but that’s been fool’s gold for years. We just love them fake comebacks.
Something needs to change. And honestly, I don’t know what. This is the same core that went to the Western Conference Finals last season. It’s easy to say they should acquire Dejounte Murray or whatever but that won’t solve everything.
Anyway, the Hawks had three players that had double-doubles. Trae Young went for 26 points and 13 assists. Trade deadline favorite Murray scored 24. Jalen Johnson contributed 19 points and 11 boards while Clint Capela had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers were led by Austin Reaves, who had a season-best 28 points. LeBron James had 20-9-8, who worked too hard on the offensive end. Pretty ironic considering what we saw on the defensive end. Rui Hachimura came off the bench to score 16.
Vibes are all bad. And it’s just the perfect timing as they face their forever rivals, the Boston Celtics, on Thursday.
And they’re now below .500 at 24-25. This is who they are until then. What do I mean by ‘then’? Until they turn it around? Or until the season is over? Let’s hope it’s not the latter.